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Thread: [RESOLVED] Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

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    Resolved [RESOLVED] Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I just want a phone that can make and receive calls and text. I don't want email, I don't want Internet, a camera doesn't really matter either. It'd be nice to text with a keyboard rather than a numeric pad, but I don't text a lot and am more concerned with price than convenience.

    I have a pre-paid plan with t-mobile which I usually purchase once every year at 1000 minutes a year.

    I gave my daughter my old phone. She has a pre-paid plan too (10 minutes at a time). I want her to have a phone so she can call me when I need to pick her up. She goes to school in a city, so sometimes she needs to call me to ask me where I'm parked or we can say where to meet. I have an expensive enough package at home (internet-cable-voice) that we don't use our cell phones a lot. The phone she was using recently stopped transmitting voice. So when she calls, she can hear me but I can't hear her. I guess it's not worth repairing. So I'll give her my current phone and get something else. But I want it to be bare-bones. Can you make a recommendation? I don't know how reviews can be so different from each other. E.g. I hate this phone/This phone is the best ever. http://prepaid-phones.t-mobile.com/p...a-1616-Prepaid

    Thanks if you have any advice.
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    Super Moderator Hack's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I also have T Mobile and if a more basic phone than mine exists, I want it.

    It has no camera
    I'm not even sure if it can do text messages
    It doesn't have internet
    It doesn't have email
    It doesn't have games

    But, oddly enough, it does do the one thing a normal, thinking, person would want a phone to do and that is make and receive phone calls (I know how radical that sounds to most of you, but I've always been a rebel)

    It is a Samsung and doesn't even have a model number on it. The front simpy says "Samsung T-Mobile"

    By the way, my phone was free. I got it when I signed up with T-Mobile

    I went with T-Mobile because they were advertising a free phone with new accounts.

    I've never spent a dime on a cell phone and I'm very proud of that.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Go to Best Buy... talk to the person in their Phones department... they should be able to help you out. They work with all of the providers, so they won't push one over the other. They are also not commission paid, so they won't push you into a higher priced phone than you want. They're also pretty knowledgeable about the products. I recently talked to one of their techs about tablets and just such an experience, they actually knew about the products and wasn't just reciting the tech specs you find on the box.

    As for the reviews... it varies depending on the reviewer... sometimes people don't understand what they are getting because they didn't read the specs close enough (happened to me once... thought I was getting capability A ... only to find out too late that it didn't... rather than blaming the phone though, I sucked it up for a year and a half, then upgraded to what I really wanted - and despite recent offers to allow me to upgrade, I'll probably stick with my current phone for a few years)... also look at the dates of the bad reviews, if they happen in clusters it's possible a bad batch got lose... it happens.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hack View Post
    But, oddly enough, it does do the one thing a normal, thinking, person would want a phone to do and that is make and receive phone calls (I know how radical that sounds to most of you, but I've always been a rebel).
    Well, especially in the line of work we are in, that is rare - but I am with you on that! And I only want to be on my cell if it's urgent and you can't wait until I'm home to talk to me. My brother called me once while I was buying something at a store from a cashier - I felt very uncomfortable having a personal conversation at that time (even if it wasn't extremely personal). And my daughter's orthondonist's office called me once while I was on a city street corner - like I want to discuss my account in public? Really!

    Quote Originally Posted by Hack View Post
    I've never spent a dime on a cell phone and I'm very proud of that.
    Me neither, except the free phones right now on t-mobile's site say 2-year-contract (since hardly anything is really free with no strings attached), so I was willing to fork over $25 or so on one so that I could continue to use it with a pre-paid plan.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Okay tg - thanks for the advice on Best Buy. If I can't find anything on the Internet, I'll go there.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    If you find one let me know. I am on the lookout for this as well.
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    Super Moderator Hack's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MMock View Post
    And I only want to be on my cell if it's urgent and you can't wait until I'm home to talk to me
    A-freakin'-men!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If my cell phone rings it damn well better be an emergency or the caller is going to get hung up on and a large, loud, ear full the next time I see them.

    (Admittedly the likelyhood of this happening is small as I almost never, ever have my cell phone turned on but one never knows do one? )
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Hey tg - Probably a stupid question, but on the Best Buy web site if it says this:
    AT&T GoPhone - Samsung A107 No-Contract Mobile Phone - Silver
    That means it will only work with AT&T as the provider?

    http://www.bestbuy.com/site/AT%26T+G...ustomerreviews

    I saw that I have $63 left on my pre-paid minutes and they expire next Sept so I will keep mine. My daughter has .9 of a minute left or something riduculous like that, so I will get her the new phone. This one is $5. But I want to stay with t-mobile because it's easier for me if we have the same provider.

    Thanks.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    And then, can I get AT&T for 10 minutes or so and when that time is up begin to purchase minutes from t-mobile? Because the phone my daughter's using now is Samsung and has "cingular" etched in the front, but cingular is not the provider now (it's t-mobile). I am getting confused...
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    T-Mobile bought Cingular... you probably got the phone pre-merge, during the merge or shortly afterwards as they got rid of their stuff.

    I'd go INTO Best Buy... not try to do this over the interwebs... but that's just me. If you want to stay with TMobile, then stay with it... you'll need to get one of their phones... won't be able to use an ATT one... at least not easily and not with one of their no-contract type of phones/plans. I tried to go the other way from a no-contract to a contract one ... seems there's something in the programming of the phones that prevent that from happening.

    The ATT GoPhones are OK... I don't like ATT, but that's a personal opinion. You could also look at BoostMobile, VirginMobile, Cricket.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Alright, I will go into the store. Turns out I think they are just up the road from my office (I hardly ever turn right out of here because left is the way home, but it appears that's where they are).

    And I think it's just a coincidence that cingular is my phone and t-mobile is my current provider. That phone used to be a monthly charge plan. Then when we built our new house and ordered the bundled package from cablevision, I got t-mobile. I don't remember that the phone dictated the provider. I think my husband had gotten recommendatiions for t-mobile pre-paid.

    Last question - so if AT&T had the cheapest phone, I should just go with them? I sorted low-to-high no-contract phones and AT&T is on top at $4.99, then Net10 $24.99, Virgin $39.99 and $49.99, t-mobile $49.99, Cricket $69.99, etc.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    The Web has become nearly useless for product reviews. Advertising sites have pulled so many games with SEO that even Google is helpless (if not complicit) in making your first 300 hits nothing but crap.

    I've used no-contract month-to-month billing (not a prepay, no contracts) phones before. When I needed a smartphone for business purposes I ended up with Verizon which has resulted in a phone I like but bills I do not. And I won't move to a current "smart phone" since they aren't anymore - they're all 'tainment phones.

    I'm about to move again, and I'm considering a cheap option. I might not go with a rock bottom phone, since I like one that can accept μSD cards and be an MP3 player. Bluetooth is good since I have a stereo headset for that. Those are options now on pretty much anything but the cheapest phone though.


    For the U.S. market have you looked at http://www.consumercellular.com/ yet?

    They use AT&T's network, have darned cheap plans, and offer just a few phones from ultra-basic to low-end Android and even a senior-friendly phone or two. You can go with a cheap low-minutes plan and add a cheap text messaging/data rider on that. In theory you can get away with that for as low as $12.50/month. No contract.

    I'm giving it some hard thought myself. I have no affiliation with them.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    For the U.S. market have you looked at http://www.consumercellular.com/ yet?
    I have to pay $10/month plus 25 cents a minute? That's a lot more than just 10 cents a minute pre-paid.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MMock View Post
    I have to pay $10/month plus 25 cents a minute? That's a lot more than just 10 cents a minute pre-paid.
    That was for the cheapest (no minutes) rate.

    Add minutes by paying $5, etc. more per month. You can pay for more messaging as well.

    The idea is to cater to people who don't require unlimited cellphone calling.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I still think my t-mobile prepaid plan is better than that. I pay $100 total for 1000 minutes which is ten cents a minute, there is no monthly fee, and have a year to use the minutes before they expire. I pick 1000 minutes because I know I will use them up within the year (then I just add another 1000 minutes and my year starts over), but you can pick 10 minutes. That's what I give my daughter. Hers sometimes expires before she uses the minutes (because they expire in one or two months, I forget the exact time, but much sooner than a year) so we paid for something we didn't use, but I still think it's cheaper.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    MetroPCS - Unlimited Texting and Minutes just $40 a month

    With a family plan of 4 phones, only $100 a month

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hack View Post
    A-freakin'-men!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    If my cell phone rings it damn well better be an emergency or the caller is going to get hung up on and a large, loud, ear full the next time I see them.

    (Admittedly the likelyhood of this happening is small as I almost never, ever have my cell phone turned on but one never knows do one? )
    LOL... All modern phones (I would consider modern anything that came out in the past 5 years or so) come with options to mute, vibrate, etc to basically not to disturb. What phone do you have?

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Sounds like you're happy with your T-Mobile pay as you go rates, so that means you'd want one of their basic phones.

    Or were you hoping to find an unlocked GSM phone to use with a T-Mobile SIM card? I suppose this would open the field of phone choices for you but I'm not sure anyone bothers with this for really cheap phones.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I bought a Nokia/T-Mobile at Best Buy. It was $20. I went into the store wanting the AT&T $5 phone, but the AT&T plan makes you buy a minimum $15 of minutes pre-paid. Since I'm already using T-Mobile and comfortable with it (you can buy $10 minutes), I decided to spend more money on the phone and save more money on the plan.

    The phone makes phone calls, doesn't have a camera, you can text but on the numeric pad so it's a pain, and I think that's it but I haven't started using it yet. I am going to take that phone and give my daughter mine, so I have to switch the SIM cards around and I want to make sure I don't lose my pictures when I do that (would I?) The salesperson already stored my contacts to the SIM card so those will transfer over.

    Thanks for all the help, and it was nice to meet someone else like-minded who doesn't want or need all that expensive technology in their pocket.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    Sounds like you're happy with your T-Mobile pay as you go rates, so that means you'd want one of their basic phones.

    Or were you hoping to find an unlocked GSM phone to use with a T-Mobile SIM card? I suppose this would open the field of phone choices for you but I'm not sure anyone bothers with this for really cheap phones.
    Woops - thought I'd refreshed before posting.

    I don't know what GSM means exactly, but I am assuming it's a phone you can use with any provider. It would've been nice to have more of an open field but yes I am happy with t-mobile. Just sad I can no longer say (as does Hack) that I've never spent a dime on a phone!
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    And I also wanted to say I learned something new as I didn't know the phone and the provider are tied together. I really am not sure why the second phone I ever had, which was the one my daughter was using that didn't transmit voice anymore, was labeled cingular but she could use it with t-mobile. It had cingular originally. I had a contract then and I think when the contract expired, I kept that phone hanging around and bought a new phone for t-mobile pre-paid. Then when my daughter was older and was going to day camp I wanted her to have a phone so she could call me if her ride fell through or she missed the bus, so I resurrected that phone with another t-mobile pre-paid plan.
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    PowerPoster RhinoBull's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
    And I won't move to a current "smart phone" since they aren't anymore - they're all 'tainment phones...
    Would you care to explain? It's an interesting opinion so I would like to hear more. [serious]

    Thanks.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MMock View Post
    I don't know what GSM means exactly, but I am assuming it's a phone you can use with any provider. It would've been nice to have more of an open field but yes I am happy with t-mobile.
    In the U.S. different carriers' networks support differernt cell phone standards. T-Mobile, AT&T, and other support GSM. Verizon and others support CDMA.

    U.S. providers tend to lock phones they sell so they can only be used on their own networks. An unlocked GSM phone can be moved from one GSM carrier to another, often simply by inserting a new SIM card provided by the new carrier to taken from an existing phone active with that carrier.

    In many cases there are ways to unlock a locked phone allowing you to move it from one carrier to another.

    Things like your phone number move with the SIM card which contains identifying info used when the phone connects with the network.


    But you can't use a CDMA phone with T-Mobile or a GSM phone with Verizon.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by RhinoBull View Post
    Would you care to explain? It's an interesting opinion so I would like to hear more. [serious]
    Well it wasn't so long ago that "smart phone" was utterly synonymous with "pocket PC phone." Effectively Microsoft dominated this market as they converged their phone effort with their earlier Pocket PC (PDA) platform and later rebranded it "Windows Mobile."

    This was a fully programmable PDA and phone combined.

    You had a Start Menu, fairly similar filesystem, and many other things making it operable much like a Windows PC. It was easy to create custom applications for line of business or personal use using a wide range of programming technologies. Much of the OSs "workings" were exposed transparently through a conventional user interface.


    Along came iPhone, then Android, and Microsoft wanted on the new consumer market bandwagon... finally producing Phone 7.

    Like its competition the OS is obscured from users through a kiosk-like locked down UI, flexibility is gone, software development is rigidly controlled through a narrow range of permitted tools, and lock-in to a proprietary "app store" was a given.

    Instead of a portable PC-like tool, these devices emphasize multimedia and advertising-centric "social media" features. The move to low-input-resolution capacitive touchscreens simply emphasized these devices' intended role as "read only" devices. While they'll throw you a bone with a simple calculator applet and such these are not meant as general purpose computing, data entry, or remote query devices anymore.


    The net result is even though marketing calls these "smart phones" they really aren't. They are much more like a TV set than a PC, a medium centered around consumption rather than a tool. Sort of like replacing a pocket multitool with a spoon.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Oh I don't know about that... I view my phone as a tool... It's primary use is for email, contact management, calendar, and GPS. Secondary use is communication - texting & voice. Tertiary use is for music streaming - ala Google Music. In a distant fourth use is some social media. I'm not sure where the "read only" device comes from, mine is pretty interactive... I produce a lot of email from it... come to think of it, my desktop PC is more of an entertainment center than my phone is -- which is as it should be.
    OK, granted the new crop of phones that have come on the scene now that 4G is catching on, yeah, I'll concede seem more 'tainment oriented than practical. Which is probably why I'll stick with my current phone for a number of years.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Thanks dilettante for reply, although I don't think I agree with everything.
    I have 2 phones BB and iPhone - both are used for fun and business. Lots of emails (work and personal), messages, contacts, calendars, etc keep me right in the loop of everything important.
    Modern phones may have become " 'tainment oriented" but again people have to have some fun even while working, don't you think?
    Still, each phone is very interactive. Also, I wouldn't expect any new phone to be less "'tainment oriented" - the bottom line I guess is you don't have to use all of its features either but it still is a smart phone.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I'm waiting for the eyePhone... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaHUpWuqNHY

    -tg
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Windows 8's Metro "dumbs down" a PC in a similar manner. You can still jump to the Desktop but you lose your Start menu. On Phone 7 you can't even do that, and you can only program in SilverLard which has only limited access to the underlying hardware.

    I guess if you don't get it... you just don't get it.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Why is Start menu on the darn phone is so important? That's what I (and sure many others too) don't get it.
    And why does it have to be Windows based phone I don't get either - MS is far behind everybody else in this area even though MS Windows is the most popular desktop os.

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I know of one thing: it's cheap, almost as bare bones as a rock, and it's upgradable. Also may be converted to headphones with minor modding




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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Quote Originally Posted by MMock View Post
    I just want a phone that can make and receive calls and text. I don't want email, I don't want Internet, a camera doesn't really matter either.
    I have a phone that still does that stuff right next to me I don't know why I bothered to upgrade.
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I still have most of my phone I've ever used - when you look at these gadgets it's interesting to see how technology evolved.
    But one phone has very special value. On 9/11 most people lost cell services but my phone somehow (most likely because of its massive antenna) managed to get through so I let lots of people use it.
    The monthly bill of course was an eye opener so I called carrier and explained and guess what: not only they dropped current charge they also gave me next 3 months "on-the-house" as well.
    That was Ericsson T28 World - I loved that phone.

  34. #34

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    PowerPoster MMock's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    I have one other new question, if you don't mind. How do ringtones work? If I have a pre-paid plan, I probably can't have a ringtone? Is there a monthly charge? It looks like it costs $1.49 a month if what I am looking at in t-mobile.com is correct. I don't know if I can even get one with a pre-paid plan or if it's worth it. That's $18 a year just to have it ring a certain way? I just want to pick a song once and use it all the time. I don't know why that would be a monthly charge anyway.
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

  35. #35
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    there's ringtones - the sound the phone makes when a call comes in... and depending on the phone, you can add mp3 ringtones and use them.... ringbacks on the other hand is what the CALLER hears when they call your, and that's what costs a monthly fee (my wife has one, costs us 99cents a month for it.)

    Sounds like you want a custom ring tone... so you need to find out if your phone supports mp3 ringtones, find out how to get it on the phone (I connect via USB cable, and drop the mp3 off in the ringtones folder) then set it - usualy in the RingTones section of the sounds settings.

    -tg
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  36. #36

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Cool. I think I can do that. (I'll be sure to buy the mp3 song legally - ha, private joke...)
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

  37. #37

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    Oh, I just need to purchase the USB cable that's compatible with my phone. Are they very different or I can probably borrow someone's? Is that also how I can get pictures off my phone and to my PC? I had no idea I could connect my phone to my computer .
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

  38. #38
    PowerPoster RhinoBull's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    You may use someone else's cable only if connection type is the same - it could be anything from mini usb to micro usb to very proprietary type.
    Most manufacturers usually include one with the phone. What phone do you have?

  39. #39

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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    T-Mobile Prepaid - Nokia 1616 Model: 1616SKU: 2579162
    There are 10 kinds of people in this world. Those who understand binary, and those who don't.

  40. #40
    PowerPoster techgnome's Avatar
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    Re: Can you recommend a bare bones cell phone?

    According to this page - http://www.gsmarena.com/nokia_1616-3007.php it doesn't offer USB... at all. And there isn't a card slot... can't seem to find any way of transferring mp3 ringtones, even though it supports it... you maybe limited to just what's on the phone.

    -tg
    * I don't respond to private (PM) requests for help. It's not conducive to the general learning of others.*
    * I also don't respond to friend requests. Save a few bits and don't bother. I'll just end up rejecting anyways.*
    * How to get EFFECTIVE help: The Hitchhiker's Guide to Getting Help at VBF - Removing eels from your hovercraft *
    * How to Use Parameters * Create Disconnected ADO Recordset Clones * Set your VB6 ActiveX Compatibility * Get rid of those pesky VB Line Numbers * I swear I saved my data, where'd it run off to??? *

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